• WisPolitics

Thursday, March 31, 2016

 11:03 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Neither over nor off with their heads

The hot-headed queen in Alice in Wonderland was quick to yell “off with their heads” when she was upset. Hot-headed lobbyists, or those with large egos, will sometimes attempt the same approach with a government staff person because they are not getting their way, or not getting it fast enough. It seldom works.

Apart from the rare instance of unprofessional behavior from a staff member, complaining to an official or trying to go over a staff person’s head, is far more likely to damage a lobbyist’s reputation.

In one performance review, my boss at the time said that in three years he could only remember one complaint about me. I gave him a do-tell look and he did.  I then laughed and said, “Oh yes, that’s the guy who wanted [ridiculous request on top of ridiculous request], and I told him no.”

My boss laughed even harder and said, “’I KNEW it would be something like that from HIM and that you would have had a good reason to say no – it’s why I didn’t follow-up with him or think it was even worth mentioning to you.  Excellent judgment...”

The complaint actually helped reinforce to my boss that he could trust my instincts and that I would not waste his time on ridiculous requests.  Had the lobbyist been able to get over his bruised ego and act on my more reasonable suggestions, instead of trying to go over my head, I would have helped move his other items forward.  Instead, he got nowhere with me, and did not have a champion anywhere else in the office, so he just spun his wheels.

In my survey of Hill staff, a person gave an example of how something was not moving fast was not moving fast enough for a lobbyist, and that lobbyist complained to the Congress member.

The member spoke with the staff person about it and learned the request was being held up by something out of her control. The member never doubted her staff and directed the lobbyist right back to that same staff person – a staffer who now knew the lobbyist spoke poorly about her work to her boss, and tried to go over her head. She is a good public servant, so she provided the necessary assistance, but she did not have any desire to go out of her way for someone who threatened her livelihood.

Another colleague with a higher ranking title said, “If you go over my head, make sure you have a head shot and can take me out because I'm NEVER going to forget it.”

He continued that he would make a note in his files of that person trying to tarnish his reputation and would not meet with them again. These lobbyists probably never stopped for a second to think about the potential long-term impacts of their short-sighted comments. However, working well with staff and appreciating their efforts is a key to successful advocacy.

An elected official at any level rarely acts on a request without first consulting staff.  Trying to go over someone’s head to speed something up often slows down the process, because it puts everything out of order and people are compelled to double check the request. This means a complaint, or an attempt to circumvent a staff person, will almost always get back to the staff person. As a result, the lobbyist ends up needing to work with someone he has annoyed, or worse, made an adversary of; thus he likely loses a critical ally within that office who could have provided guidance on navigating the next steps.

Furthermore, if a lobbyist is complaining or trying to go around staff, the member may assume that lobbyist is sneaky or says bad things about everyone and is untrustworthy.

When a lobbyist threatens a staff person’s reputation and livelihood, he is often hurting himself.

No one wins, so keep the ego in check.

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

 2:43 PM 

Kind backs Clinton, says Oval Office no place for 'on-the-job-training.'

U.S. Rep. Ron Kind said at a WisPolitics.com luncheon Tuesday no one running for the White House is more qualified, experienced or ready to assume the responsibilities of the job than Hillary Clinton.

In considering the field of presidential candidates, the La Crosse Dem said the Oval Office is no place for "on-the-job-training."

"And I like her agenda when it comes to expanding and strengthening the middle class," he said. "And I also like her experience when it comes to enhancing our security from threats both abroad and at home."

The other five Wisconsin superdelegates to back the former secretary of state, according to Clinton's campaign, are: U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, of Madison; U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore, of Milwaukee; and DNC members Christine Bremer Muggli, Michael Childers and Martha Love.

The other four superdelegates -- U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, state Chair Martha Laning, state Vice Chair David Bowen and DNC member Jason Rae -- have not publicly endorsed in the race.

Kind panned the rhetoric and "fear-mongering" he said has led campaigns into a race to the bottom.

Hopefully, he said, the discussion will become more serious by the November election. The country needs to deal with its place in the global economy, figure out how to face competition from abroad and lead the way establishing the rules for globalization.

"And my greatest concern, regardless of who the president is," Kind said, "is if this doesn't get cleaned up and corrected in time for the November election, we could end up with a country literally ungovernable."

Kind said if Trump is the nominee Republicans down-ticket could suffer, putting the GOP at risk of losing the Senate and suffering significant setbacks in the House.

Kind, after a pause, told the audience he also can reassure them. He then delivered a two-part punchline that put the congressman into the discussion about candidates' wives.

"I really don't think a Trump presidency will work that well for our country because he will soon leave us for a younger country," Kind quipped. "I'm struck by the number of foreign wives Donald Trump has had too. I guess it just goes to show you that there are actually some jobs that Americans refuse to do."

See more on the luncheon in the Friday REPORT.

Friday, March 25, 2016

 1:36 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker rebukes 'ugliness' in politics

In this week's Ryan Rundown: House Speaker Paul Ryan delivers a speech criticizing the "ugliness" of presidential season politics, triggering a slew of commentary from pundits.
The Janesville Republican also prepares to lead the 2016 GOP convention this summer.


- Paul Ryan defends NATO in AIPAC speech

- House Speaker Paul Ryan is using a speech before America's leading pro-Israel group to hammer the Obama administration for the landmark nuclear deal with Iran

- Paul Ryan begins speech at AIPAC

- Ryan: 'No reason' to fear threat to Capitol

- As House speaker, Ryan gets unexpected task of leading unpredictable, 2016 GOP convention

- Ryan to deliver speech on 'disheartening' state of politics

- Ryan slams 'ugliness' in politics amid Trump-driven chaos

- Ryan's speech a clear rebuke to 'Trumpism'

- Ryan: Trump is not an authoritarian

- Now the world knows if Paul Ryan thinks Donald Trump is a fascist

- Ryan is trying to save the GOP from Donald Trump

- Ryan begins backing House Republicans away from Donald Trump

- Trump to campaign in Paul Ryan's backyard

- Paul Ryan addresses political clashes, but not congressional gridlock

- Ryan rejects conservatives' demands, insists on passing budget before spending bills

- No budget, no blame? Members won't fault Ryan if House doesn't pass a budget

- Why did Senate leadership close this policy avenue to House conservatives?

- Paul Ryan and House GOP continue to push for spending increases

- Donald Trump is not Paul Ryan's only roadblock

- Congress digs in for a turf war over poverty

- Paul Ryan defends the Little Sisters of the Poor ahead of Supreme Court showdown

- Ryan defends the Little Sisters of the Poor: 'The last thing the federal government should do is make their jobs harder'

- How would Paul Ryan do against Hillary?

- Rep. Tom Cole keeps hope alive for Paul Ryan as GOP nominee in a contested convention

- Paul Ryan's commitment to 'regular order' collides with major heroin legislation

- Ryan rips Trump for comments on rioting [Massey]


- PolitiFact: Is Paul Ryan right about how many Americans think the country is headed in the wrong direction?

- PolitiFact: Paul Ryan says Cuba is a 'safe harbor' for fugitives and terrorists

- Stan Collender: Paul Ryan is cheating on the GOP

- Jared Bernstein: Paul Ryan would rather you didn't know what he was up to on taxes

- Albert Hunt: U.S. Congress is forgotten, but it isn't gone

- Joan McCarter: Ryan is having a hard time accepting the reality of Donald Trump

- Charles Pierce: Paul Ryan's latest speech said one thing: He's running

- Matt Lewis: Ryan can't be expected to condemn Trump

- Janet Allon: Paul Krugman obliterates Paul Ryan's stubborn economic ignorance

- Paul Krugman: On invincible ignorance ... Paul Ryan?

- Paul Ryan quietly aiming for the presidency? 3 columns that suggest he is

- Elias Isquith: Clock is ticking on Paul Ryan

- Seth Chandler: Speaker Paul Ryan should intervene right now in risk corridor class action

- Speaker Paul Ryan: What America can be

- Jonathan Chait: Why Paul Ryan opposes divisive politics

- Callum Borchers: Dear reporters, don't forget Paul Ryan said he would support Donald Trump as the GOP nominee

- Nicholas Berman: Paul Ryan denounces you-know-who

- John Feehery: Paul Ryan is right. Will anyone listen? Trump is the symptom but not the root of the incivility that threatens our political process.

- Kevin Drum: Paul Ryan says he regrets calling the poor 'takers.' That isn't enough

- Dana Milbank: Paul Ryan's cowardly neutrality on Trump

- Simon Maloy: Paul Ryan looks past Trump

- Nigel Roberts: Ryan: I've evolved on poverty issue, apologize for callousness

- Katherine Speller: How Paul Ryan is hinting he's unhappily resigned to a Donald Trump nomination

- Pascal-Emmanuel Gobry: Paul Ryan had a very civilized response to Donald Trump. He should have been uncivilized.

- Paul Waldman: Paul Ryan has seen the light on Republican divisiveness. There's only one problem.

- Steve Benen: Why Paul Ryan's political diagnosis falls far short

- Heather Digby Parton: Don't believe Paul Ryan's bogus "apology"

- Derek Thompson: Can Paul Ryan's pleasant language sell his divisive policies? If your ideas hurt people, it doesn't matter what you call them.

- Nat'l Tax Limitation's Lewis Uhler and Peter Ferrara: Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy ride again: Young Guns morph into senior policy sharpshooters

- David D. Haynes: Paul Ryan needs to stop playing Mr. Nice Guy with Donald Trump


Wednesday, March 23, 2016

 10:59 AM 

Ryan criticizes the state of American politics

House Speaker Paul Ryan today called on the country to raise the level of political discourse, saying a confident America debates ideas rather than questioning motives.

The Janesville Republican spoke to a bipartisan group of House interns on the state of American politics. He said politics can be messy, complicated and infuriating, but it also should be based on principles, not personalities.

Ryan did not call out anyone by name, but he made it clear he opposes what he sees as an attempt to divide the country to win elections. He said there are too many instances of people insulting others into agreeing with certain ideas.

“It did not used to be this bad,” he said, “and it does not have to be this way.”

See more in the PM Update today.

See his full remarks here.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

 8:38 AM 

Ryan slams Iran nuclear deal in AIPAC speech

House Speaker Paul Ryan slammed the Iran nuclear deal and pledged he will never allow legislation that divides the U.S. and Israel to reach the chamber floor.

“Like my House colleagues, I understand that America is not safer when we back away from Israel. America is safer when we stand with Israel,” Ryan told the American Israel Public Affairs Committee late yesterday afternoon.

Ryan also told the group, which lobbies for pro-Israel policies, his first overseas trip as House speaker will be a return to Israel.

See the full text of Ryan’s remarks:

Watch the speech:

Friday, March 18, 2016

 1:24 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker says contested convention 'more likely'

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan said he thinks the chances of an open convention are increasing.
The Janesville Republican also criticized front-runner Donald Trump for condoning violence at campaign events. Ryan also faces continued problems selling his budget to fellow conservatives.


- Ryan, GOP House budget vows seem paralyzed by angst over GOP White House battle

- Paul Ryan vows to pass budget despite conservatives' rebellion

- Republican opposition puts Paul Ryan budget in serious jeopardy

- Ryan confronts budget meltdown

- Conservatives snub Paul Ryan, block budget [Taylor of AP]

- Why there's trouble ahead for Paul Ryan's trillion-dollar budget

- Paul Ryan: Violence at Trump rallies 'very concerning'

- Speaker Paul Ryan denounces violence at campaign rallies

- Ryan condemns violence at Trump rallies

- 'It's unacceptable': Paul Ryan condemns increasing violence at Trump rallies

- Paul Ryan on Trump rallies: There is 'never an excuse for condoning violence' [DeBonis]

- Ryan: Candidates responsible for violence at events [Fram of AP]

- Paul Ryan condemns Donald Trump rally violence

- Paul Ryan struggles to explain why he will support Trump as GOP nominee

- Paul Ryan's communications director is quick to point one thing out as Trump delivers victory speech

- Paul Ryan sticks to support for 2016 GOP nominee

- Ryan says open GOP convention 'more likely'

- Ryan doesn't think he'll have to denounce Donald Trump [Fuller]

- Contested convention is looking more likely, says Speaker Ryan [Wong]

- Committee to Draft Paul Ryan for President shuts down

- House Speaker Paul Ryan dodges the draft

- Paul Ryan won't categorically rule out accepting GOP nom

- Boehner backs Paul Ryan for president

- Paul Ryan on whether he'd accept the GOP nomination: 'We'll see' [Voorhees]

- Paul Ryan hints at White House run, House speaker: 'We'll see. Who knows' [Chumley]

- Ryan 'will not accept' GOP nod at contested convention

- John Boehner: Paul Ryan for president [Campanile]

- John Boehner backs Paul Ryan for president, calls Ted Cruz 'Lucifer' [Howell]

- Boehner backs Ryan in case of contested GOP convention [Ackerman]

- Boehner calls Cruz 'Lucifer' after endorsing Ryan for president [Chadwick]

- Doomsday savior? How Ryan will pick the next president [Phillips]

- Ryan slams door on 2016 GOP nomination [CNN]

- 4 reasons Paul Ryan won't be the Republican nominee

- Ryan huddles with GOP donors

- Three announce plans to run against Ryan

- Ryan faces trial by fire as Republican convention chairman

- Immigration reform 2016: Paul Ryan's amicus brief in SCOTUS battle opposed by immigrant advocacy groups

- Pro-reform groups slam Ryan's plans for immigration amicus brief [French]

- Texas delegation divided over House Speaker Paul Ryan intervening in immigration case

- Paul Ryan stands with Senate Republicans on Garland

- Ryan backs Senate leaders blocking SCOTUS nom: 'It's about principle'

- Another Dem like Obama? Our best days are behind us: Ryan

- US speaker of the House defends Irish tax regime


- Christopher Rants: Ready for Paul Ryan for president?

- Kristina Peterson: Why the GOP fantasy to nominate Paul Ryan is likely to fizzle

- Carl Leubsdorf: GOP ambivalence on racial issues nothing new [despite Ryan's rebuke], so don't blame Trump

- Bloomberg's Billy House: Paul Ryan's House agenda upended by Trump, Cruz

- Joan McCarter: Ryan's leadership team will try one more big push to get a budget, will fail

- Jonathan Chait: Republican Pope/Jesus Paul Ryan now last hope to stop Donald Trump

- Greg Sargent: Republican voters are spoiling Paul Ryan's dream of a grand triumph for conservatism

- James Pethokoukis: Paul Ryan just revealed that the GOP has learned nothing from its Trump debacle


Thursday, March 17, 2016

 8:52 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Refrain from talk of political contributions

On an average day, a government leader, as well as their staff, might meet with a Fortune 500 CEO, a disabled child, an environmental group, a local mayor, a business group from their district, and others.

They hear a lot of messages on many different issues from various constituents.

As constituents begin each meeting, some make a fairly common, but costly, mistake. It is one of the biggest DON'Ts in terms of getting positive results for a cause. In fact, in some offices, it can completely backfire and get a constituent less help, not more.

What is this taboo?

Mentioning a political campaign contribution, and in some cases, a political association.

An elected official wears two hats - the official hat and the campaign hat. Despite what may be portrayed on political TV shows or in the movies, both sides generally stay in their lanes. When taking a meeting in a legislator's Capitol office, that is on the official side, which means there should be NO mention of political contributions. NONE.

If a constituent has a relevant or pressing issue, good staff people will listen and see if they can help, regardless of a political contribution or affiliation.

In surveying dozens of Hill staff, I found the vast majority are completely turned off (read: "disgusted," "appalled," and "insulted" - their words) when someone mentions a political contribution in a government meeting. It sends the signal that this person either thinks the staff can be easily bought or that the staff was not professional enough to help unless the "skids were greased." Offending a staff person is never a good start to a meeting.

While Capitol Hill does not have open records, in offices that do, sending something in email to a staff person that mentions being a donor or a member of a political organization is one of the surest ways to not get the desired assistance. In a couple of previous positions, I occasionally received these types of emails, and, when I did, I would often politely call the person and tell them, "I'm sorry, but I work on the government side and since you mentioned the political side, I now need to direct you to the campaign."

Had they not included those inappropriate political words, I would have gladly been able to help them.

Bottom line: it is not all about the Benjamins. Forget "show me the money." When in an official office, keep the discussion to official business.

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

 4:31 PM 

Johnson continues to believe next president should fill Scalia seat

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson today said he continues to believe the next president should fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court.

House Speaker Paul Ryan backed up that view as President Obama announced the nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia on the bench.

But U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, and Johnson opponent Russ Feingold, D-Middleton, continued their calls for the Senate to hold a hearing and vote on the nomination.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., today repeated his vow not to take up an Obama appointee, and Johnson said today the court is now equally divided “between judges and super-legislators.” A new nominee could tip the balance and “put at risk our Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms, as well as our First Amendment rights of free speech and to the exercise of religion.

“Because of the gravity of such a change, my advice continues to be: Let the American people decide,” Johnson said.

Baldwin, meanwhile, pledged to “do my job” by reviewing Garland’s experience and qualifications, saying she looks forward to meeting with him and hopes Republicans will do the same.
“To ignore this nomination is wrong and irresponsible,” Baldwin said. “Senate Republicans need to do their job and provide Judge Garland a hearing and an up-or-down vote. I believe the American people deserve to have a full and functioning Supreme Court working for them.”

Feingold, likewise, said Garland deserved a fair hearing and consideration.

"Now that the president has fulfilled his constitutional obligation to nominate a potential justice, it's time for the Senate to do its job,” Feingold said.

But Ryan, R-Janesville, said nothing has changed in his view and he backs McConnell’s decision not to move forward with the confirmation process.

“This has never been about who the nominee is. It is about a basic principle,” Ryan said. “Under our Constitution, the president has every right to make this nomination, and the Senate has every right not to confirm a nominee.”

Monday, March 14, 2016

 10:13 AM 

Johnson signs off on forwarding appeals court nomination

U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson has signed off on forwarding the appeals court nomination of Don Schott as the Oshkosh Republican and U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin continued to trade shots over judicial vacancies. 

Dems have been hitting Johnson for saying the Senate shouldn't take up an expected nomination from President Obama to fill the seat of Justice Antonin Scalia following his death. That picked up after Johnson told a radio show last week the dynamics would be different if a conservative president were nominating Scalia's replacement. 

Baldwin, D-Madison, last week called on Johnson "to end his partisan obstruction and do his job." At a WisPolitics.com breakfast in DC she said five of six members of the nominating panel favored Schott and said it was time to move forward on the longest standing federal court vacancy in the country. 

In a column that ran over the weekend, Johnson laid out his perspective over the vacancy on the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals and touched on the Supreme Court opening as well. 

He wrote Baldwin "blew up this process" in May for the 7th Circuit by sending the White House a list of candidates for the appeals court outside of the process the two had established. He also suggested politics was at play because she did so less than a week before Russ Feingold announced plans to challenge him. 

Johnson wrote he has signed the blue slip for Schott, a Madison attorney, to recommend the Judiciary Committee consider his nomination. While calling Schott a "person of integrity," Johnson also noted he has no judicial experience and has made donations to Baldwin, Feingold and Obama. 

"Baldwin's partisan decision to blow up our bipartisan process, and the White House's foot-dragging have put Schott's nomination in jeopardy," Johnson wrote. "Throw in the politics that have unnecessarily erupted over the Supreme Court vacancy, and the outcome is impossible to predict." 

Johnson also wrote he has recommended the White House should nominate Milwaukee County Judge Richard Sankovitz for a recent vacancy on the Eastern District Court. 

Baldwin spokesman John Kraus said Johnson is "obviously feeling the pressure of his own partisan obstruction. 

"Instead ‎of offering excuses and playing a political blame game he should simply take responsibility for doing his own job as he was elected to do," Kraus said. 

Former Gov. Tommy Thompson also weighed in on the Supreme Court vacancy during his appearance on "UpFront with Mike Gousha," saying the Senate should vote on a nomination. See more on that below. 

See Johnson's column: 

See Baldwin's Friday statement: 

See a report on Baldwin's talk to the WisPolitics.com DC breakfast: 

Friday, March 11, 2016

 2:26 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker discourages presidential draft PAC

In this week's Ryan Rundown: U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan speaks with Ted Cruz and a "conciliatory" Donald Trump.

The Janesville Republican also slams an expansion of the fiduciary advice rule and tries to quell attempts to draft him into the presidential race.

- House Speaker Ryan seeks halt to presidential 'Draft Ryan' group

- Paul Ryan not interested in presidential run this year

- Paul Ryan disavows super PAC pushing White House run [McCaskill]

- Behind an effort to draft Paul Ryan for the White House race [Haberman]

- 'Draft Speaker Ryan' movement forms to push Paul Ryan to run for GOP 2016 presidential nomination [Edelman]

- Super PAC attempts to draft Speaker Paul Ryan for president

- Paul Ryan tells 'Draft Ryan' super PAC to cut it out [Lieberman]

- Could a President Trump, Cruz work with Paul Ryan and Congress?

- Paul Ryan phones Trump, Cruz to discuss 'bold conservative' agenda

- Paul Ryan speaks with Trump and Cruz

- Paul Ryan has spoken with Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, aides say

- Trump says he had 'conciliatory' phone chat with Paul Ryan

- Trump makes conciliatory moves toward establishment Republicans

- Would Paul Ryan stop Donald Trump?

- Ryan's House agenda upended by Trump, Cruz dominance

- How Donald Trump is ruining Paul Ryan's speakership

- Paul Ryan faces 'impossible conundrum' on Donald Trump

- Paul Ryan must win back conservatives after spending bill makes bad first impression

- Speaker Ryan tries to heal fractured GOP in contentious year

- Ryan becomes leading opponent of DOL fiduciary rule

- Speaker Paul Ryan: Fiduciary rule 'Obamacare for financial planning'

- Ryan weighs in on advice rule

- Speaker Paul Ryan among top House leaders to address AIPAC conference

- House speaker Paul Ryan set to attend AIPAC conference

- DC liberals are siding with Paul Ryan to defend education bill

- Paul Ryan finally finds his Batman

- Paul Ryan trolled President Obama with 'House of Cards,' a show that turns his stomach

- Speaker Ryan uses 'House of Cards' in Gitmo tweet


- Paul Ryan busted by fact checkers for lying about Obama obstruction precedent

- Paul Mulshine: Will the stop-Donald Trump crowd try to start a Paul Ryan candidacy?

- Warren Blumenfield: Paul Ryan needs a U.S. history refresher course

- Joan McCarter: Can Paul Ryan's 'golden boy' image survive Donald Trump?

- Joshua Brown: The most horrendous lie on Wall Street, and House Speaker Paul Ryan is helping spread it

- Joan McCarter: Senate Republicans join Paul Ryan's House in failing on budget process

- Ed Rogers: After Tuesday's results, all eyes are on Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell

- Hamilton Nolan: Ryan's brain-twisting rationales for why you should be ripped off

- Fox's Dobbs: Romney, Paul Ryan are despicable 'twosome from hell' betraying the GOP


Friday, March 4, 2016

 2:05 PM 

Ryan Rundown: Speaker defends GOP brand, laughs off Trump threat

In this week's Ryan Rundown: The Janesville Republican said he “laughed out loud” at Donald Trump’s saying Ryan would "pay a big price" if he doesn't cooperate with the outspoken presidential candidate.

Still, Ryan declined to criticize Trump when speaking to CPAC on Thursday. During a Q&A at the convention, Ryan outlined his plan to combat poverty

He also has vowed to protect the Republican brand from the acrimony of the presidential campaign trail.

- Paul Ryan: 'Entire government on ballot'

- Paul Ryan: House 'going on offense' this spring to help GOP win White House [Baker]

- Paul Ryan faces tea party forces that he helped unleash

- Conservatives tell Ryan to spend less in 2017

- This potential Supreme Court nominee is family to House Speaker Paul Ryan

- Why Paul Ryan shouldn't team up with Barack Obama to fight poverty

- Paul Ryan rallies conservatives to new battle plan for fighting poverty [Wegman]

- Paul Ryan talks war on poverty at CPAC

- Gov. Walker, Speaker Ryan deliver remarks at CPAC conference in Maryland

- Paul Ryan: Everything 'fair game' until nominee selected

- Paul Ryan vows he'll defend Republican brand against threats from GOP campaign trail

- Trump's campaign reached out to Paul Ryan

- Trump reaches out to Paul Ryan -- here's what the speaker's office is saying [Darcy]

- Trump: Ryan can get along with me or 'pay a big price'

- Victorious Donald Trump threatens Paul Ryan

- Trump: Paul Ryan will get along well with me or 'he's gonna have to pay a big price'

- Paul Ryan speaks out on Trump

- Paul Ryan 'laughed out loud' at Donald Trump's 'pay a big price' threat

- Ryan on Trump's threat: 'I just laughed out loud'

- Paul Ryan's response to Donald Trump: LOL

- Ryan refuses to join Romney in Trump criticism

- Walker, Ryan don't join Mitt Romney in bashing Trump [Gilbert]

- Ryan: I hope Trump would carry out GOP agenda

- Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell say no to Klan (but maybe to Donald Trump)

- Donald Trump threatens House Speaker Paul Ryan

- Paul Ryan addresses panic over Donald Trump [Steinhauer]

- Paul Ryan: GOP nominee must reject bigotry: 'There can be no evasion' [Sommerhauser]

- Paul Ryan, Mitch McConnell call out Trump on KKK [Walsh]

- Ryan and McConnell's plan for Donald Trump [Sherman, Palmer, Bresnahan]

- Paul Ryan fires a warning shot at Trump

- Super PAC forms to 'Draft Ryan' for the White House

- What if Paul Ryan had run?

- Paul Ryan: 'We stand for women, the unborn'

- Ryan, Walker, Johnson preach unity at Republican dinner

- Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney to ski with donors in Utah, raise money for Mia Love

- Speaker of the House Paul Ryan to headline Mia Love fundraiser event


- John Nichols: Blame Paul Ryan and Reince Priebus for the rise of Trump

- Joan McCarter: Paul Ryan is about to get Trumped

- Desperate GOP clinging to hope Paul Ryan can save them

- Paul Ryan is learning why being speaker sucks

- Paul Ryan quotes Kanye West to support economic agenda and people are freaked out

- Ryan pretends Donald Trump didn't threaten him, says they're reaching out to each other


Thursday, March 3, 2016

 8:44 AM 

Wendy Riemann column: Advantageous Advocacy: Agree to disagree

A funny cartoon in The New Yorker last week featured two siblings yelling at each other, "You're a big, fat liar." "No, you're a big fat liar!" With the mom telling the dad, "You're the one who said, 'Let them watch the debates, it will be educational.'" 

When we feel passionately about a topic, we can easily succumb to our emotions.  It is why some families avoid discussing politics at the holiday table and why some Facebook friends won't engage in conversations about social issues online.

Groups traveling to the nation's capital to advocate for their cause are often filled with great energy and inspiring passion. They researched an issue and solutions, and are eager to bring about positive change.

Meeting with a staff person who does not share the group's opinion can be disheartening. Yet, as infuriating as that may be, and regardless of how right group members think they are, or how much someone pays in taxes, it is NOT appropriate to yell in a meeting. It is not professional. It does not benefit the cause. It diminishes the message. It often demonstrates an inflated ego with a lack of control; and quite frankly, it makes the person and the group look more like bullies and jerks rather than advocates an office wants as partners.

In my advocacy research, I surveyed high-level staff in dozens of Capitol Hill offices. Staff are accustomed to emotional constituents - it comes with the job. However, while infrequent, more than 50 percent of staff surveyed experienced being yelled at in a constituent meeting at levels far beyond a verbal disagreement.

Not one found the yelling productive or helpful.  Several felt threatened.

In response, many staffers said they would never meet with that group again.  Others said any future meeting would likely be delegated to a lower-level staff person. Neither of these outcomes is helpful in moving a cause forward.

Staff, are just that, staff. They are moms and dads, friends and relatives. Most are overworked, underpaid, and entered public service to make the world a better place.

So, don't shoot the messenger.  Express your views, but do not make personal attacks, yell, or threaten. Find a way to agree to disagree.

That can actually be easier than expected because most elected officials have a voting record. If a group does its proper homework before a meeting, they should have facts and a general idea of where an official already stands on the issue. This knowledge is helpful in managing a group's expectations, setting a meeting goal - which may perhaps just be getting someone from against an issue to neutral - and remaining calm. Do not take staff asking questions or pointing out alternative facts and statistics as a personal attack.  Listening to those comments can sometimes provide a better understanding of where the office stands and why, and may even lead to an opening for a group to calmly correct inaccurate information.

Since a group may need this office in the future, it is good to remember that there is some truth to the adage that you catch more flies with honey.

-- Riemann is president of 1492 Communications, a consulting firm. She can be reached at: wendy@1492communications.com.

: See newer blog items : : See older blog items :

DC Wrap site feed


wispolitics.com Social News

Follow Us


WisPolitics coverage of news from the nation's capital.

JR Ross, David Wise

· DC Wrap site feed (RSS)

· Sign up for email delivery of the weekly DC Wrap column


· Tammy Baldwin (D)
· Ron Johnson (R)

· 1st CD: Paul Ryan (R)
· 2nd CD: Mark Pocan (D)
· 3rd CD: Ron Kind (D)
· 4th CD: Gwen Moore (D)
· 5th CD: F. James Sensenbrenner (R)
· 6th CD: Glenn Grothman (R)
· 7th CD: Sean Duffy (R)
· 8th CD: Reid Ribble (R)



· July 2013: Wood's 2001 DC inauguration trip turned into new career
· May 2013: Hard work propels Berens from Doyle to Pelosi to DGA
· March 2013: Riemann uses PR skills, 'lunch-pail work ethic' to boost state interests in D.C.
· Feb. 2013: Stocks seeks to remake NEA as 'more than a traditional labor union'
· Dec. 2012: As modest Kohl bids farewell to Senate, others do the bragging
· Dec. 2012: Wisconsin experience provides guideposts to Priebus at RNC


· May 2009
· June 2009
· July 2009
· August 2009
· September 2009
· October 2009
· November 2009
· December 2009
· January 2010
· February 2010
· March 2010
· April 2010
· May 2010
· June 2010
· July 2010
· August 2010
· September 2010
· October 2010
· November 2010
· December 2010
· January 2011
· February 2011
· March 2011
· April 2011
· May 2011
· June 2011
· July 2011
· August 2011
· September 2011
· October 2011
· November 2011
· December 2011
· January 2012
· February 2012
· March 2012
· April 2012
· May 2012
· June 2012
· July 2012
· August 2012
· September 2012
· October 2012
· November 2012
· December 2012
· January 2013
· February 2013
· March 2013
· April 2013
· May 2013
· June 2013
· July 2013
· August 2013
· September 2013
· October 2013
· November 2013
· December 2013
· January 2014
· February 2014
· March 2014
· April 2014
· May 2014
· June 2014
· July 2014
· August 2014
· September 2014
· October 2014
· November 2014
· December 2014
· January 2015
· February 2015
· March 2015
· April 2015
· May 2015
· June 2015
· July 2015
· September 2015
· October 2015
· November 2015
· December 2015
· January 2016
· February 2016
· March 2016
· April 2016
· May 2016
· June 2016
· July 2016
· August 2016
· September 2016
· October 2016
· November 2016
· December 2016
· January 2017
Copyright ©2012 WisPolitics.com All rights reserved. | WisOpinion.com | WisBusiness.com  |  Website development by wisnet.com LLC  | Website design by Makin’ Hey Communications